Afghan service members fled to Uzbekistan in dozens of US-delivered planes, helicopters | MCUTimes

Afghan service members fled to Uzbekistan in dozens of US-delivered planes, helicopters

Hundreds of Afghan service members have fled to Uzbekistan aboard dozens of planes and helicopters from the United States since the weekend when the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan.

At least 46 planes have entered Uzbekistan with a total of 585 Afghan service members on board, The Wall Street Journal reported with reference to U.S. officials.

Some of the planes allegedly landed in Tajikistan, which is also located on Afghanistan’s northern border.

Another 158 Afghan soldiers entered Uzbekistan on Sunday, Reuters reported, referring to the Uzbek prosecutor’s office.

The movement took place when the Afghan government collapsed and top leaders fled the country with the Taliban into the capital, Kabul, and took control of the presidential palace.

The Uzbek prosecution revealed that a plane collided with an escorting Uzbek fighter jet, resulting in both jets crashing, Reuters reported. Both pilots were reportedly pushed out and survived the incident.

The newswire noted that the statement from the office contradicted previous remarks by the country’s defense ministry, which said the Afghan military plane was shot down by Uzbek air defense forces.

Afghan officials fled to Uzbekistan after the Taliban overran Kabul on Sunday, wreaking havoc in the city as thousands flooded the airport in a desperate attempt to escape the Taliban.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who quietly left the country, wrote later in a post on social media that he fled to avoid potential clashes with the Taliban and prevent future bloodshed.

Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement from the country’s foreign ministry, released Wednesday.

A number of Afghan citizens are now trying to leave the country as the Taliban establish control.

Scenes from Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday showed dozens of Afghans trying to board U.S. military planes evacuating the region, with some clinging to the outside of moving planes on the tarmac.

The Pentagon said it will work to have a flight leaves Kabul by the hour, a pace that could have between 5,000 and 9,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan a day.

The Taliban has promised peace in Afghanistan, though many are skeptical and concerned about how the rebel group will rule, especially when it comes to women in the country.

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